Yes, you read right. Poo has the power to transform.
We’ve had a little flock of chickens for several years, and we have accumulated quite a pile of manure-laden straw cleaned from their coop. Last spring, we spread the composted straw and manure mixture over my perennial flower beds.
It was a dirty and laborious job, involving the entire family. My oldest son, Aidan, drove our tractor and scooped up the compost from the pile in the side yard, and we all unloaded armfuls of the stuff onto the flower beds, kneeling to spread it by hand around each plant.
Every now and then, as Aidan dug into the pile with the tractor bucket, we’d come across a layer that hadn’t quite broken down enough. The smell was quite something, enhanced as it was by the heat of the sunshine – sewage gas mixed with rotting grass.
When the job was done, I thanked my family profusely for giving up their day to do such a distasteful job. Perennial gardening is my passion, not theirs.
Then, I waited twelve months to see if the layer of chicken poo fertilizer would make a difference to my plants.
And it did! This year, every plant has seemed more lush and floriferous than ever before. In early spring, some tulips I hadn’t seen for years emerged and flowered beautifully. During the past few weeks, my peony plants and rose bushes have blossomed with fat, ruffled blooms in every shade of pink.
The poo proved to be transformative in my garden, well worth the stinky work.
In much the same way, some of the cruddiest experiences in life can transform us – if we will allow God to use them.
Sometimes, it seems as though we are wading through smelly mire, whether it’s a sin we can’t shake, a trial that we can’t seem to work through, or a problem we can’t resolve.
We may feel burdened by a life experience that we simply must endure for a season, because it’s out of our control. We have no idea how it could possibly work out for our good.
It just stinks.
Job certainly endured the vilest of circumstances. He went from riches to rags, lost all ten of his children and the respect of his friends, and hit bottom when he lost his health as well.
So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. – Job 2:7-8
Though Job never lost his faith, he did proclaim his innocence before God and express his frustration and confusion about all he was experiencing.
Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. – Job 7:11
Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. – Job 10: 7, 8
Many chapters later, God responded – not to explain why he had allowed Job to suffer, but to explain his own power and unfathomable reasoning.
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. – Job 38:3, 4
Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? – Job 40:8
Job never did receive a “why” from God. But he did come to respect God’s judgment and gain a greater understanding of his character, and Job repented of his bitter spirit.
In the end, all the poo he worked through reinvigorated his spiritual life.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. – Job 42:5, 6
Have you ever gone through something and never understood why? I welcome your comments.